Boy in Court
- Publication date
- Public Domain
- Digitizing sponsor
- National Probation and Parole Association
SHOWS IN DETAIL THE WORKINGS OF THE JUVENILE COURT WHEN A BOY IS BROUGHT BEFORE IT. BEGINS WITH THE SNATCHING OF A CAR BY YOUNG DELINQUENTS & FOLLOWS THEM TO THE RELEASE OF ONE OF THE BOYS, AFTER A YEAR'S PROBATION.
"What road lies ahead for this sullen, misguided 15-year-old? Can't something be done to help these twisted lives and set them straight?"
When Johnny Marvin gets collared for auto theft, his future is up for grabs. Boy in Court shows how his case is treated in a progressive city where juvenile courts and a probation service have been established.
Very much a product of the New Deal ethos, Boy in Court depicts civil authority through the social services that it supplies, delivered by compassionate, well-trained professionals. As in other films of this period like The City, it pits the future (as represented by aviation, the sky and technology) against the present, typified by slum housing, crowded rooms and crime.
At least in the unidentified city where Johnny resides, there are progressive alternatives to juvenile incarceration. But there's more than a hint of class condescension in the behavior and tone of the judge (who, until the film's end, is the only character that gets to speak in sync sound), welfare workers and probation officer. Their intervention in Johnny's life involves his whole family. People are brought in to fix up his home, and Johnny's P.O. even gets him to attend church again. The task of bridging the distance between the world of the Marvins and the middle-class professionals who are there to help them seems pretty easy.
Thanks to all the help he receives, Johnny makes good and is taken off probation. Speaking in sync for the first time, he sums up his past behavior: "Gee, that was really dumb, wasn't it?"
Ken Smith notes: Some JD kids steal a car and -- naturally -- it crashes. "Johnny," a huggable white kid whose only crime is that he comes from a disadvantaged background (boo hoo) gets caught and hauled into court. The narrator whines and moans about the injustices of society as Johnny is put in the tender hands of a probation officer and reforms.
Liberal, New Deal claptrap. A feel-good film.
Johnny Marvin, who always looks painfully bored
"what road lies ahead for this sullen, misguided 15-year-old?"
"Johnny, and 200,000 other youngsters who are arrested each year, are America's number one crime problem."
"Can't something be done to help these twisted young lives and set them straight?"
junvenile courts "can make good citizens out of wayward youths"
(photo CU of Johnny 3:54)
clean-cut, snap-brim-hat and double-breasted-suit wearing probation officer Benton
"world of squalid homes, dirt and confusion"
(PHOTO confronts the gang 5:04)
"He finds them suspicious and distrustful. Unwilling to tell him anything..."
"I could send you to the industrial school until you're 21, but I don't want to do that. We believe that you can make good without being sent away."
(Johnny and Benton PHOTO 7:07, 9:17)
"Johnny has found a new world and ambtion. the gang is forgotten. He's looking ahead to the things he really wants!"
"Intelligent and friendly guidance has accomplished what mear punishment could never do."
"I guess you won't steal any more automobiles, will you."
"Gee, that was dumb, wasn't it." "It ceratinly was, heh-heh."
waering an identical suit
(handshake PHOTO 9:48)
CRIME JUVENILE DELINQUENCY STOLEN AUTOMOBILES JUVENILE COURTS JUDGES TRIALS PROBATION YOUTH THEFT STEALING TEENAGERS ADOLESCENTS BOYS POLICEMEN NIGHT SHOTS EXTERIORS
Danger Lurks Safety
- 2002-07-16 00:00:00
- Closed captioning
- Run time
Subject: Stealing that car was the best thing Johny ever did.
Subject: Johhny, be good!
Subject: Boy in Court
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****. Also available on Our Secret Century, Vol. 5: Teenage Transgression and Teenage Confidential.
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